Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quiz Yourself! How Close Are You to Being a Perfect Teacher?


Listen to a Quick Interview!

Have you checked out the interview I did with Rae Pica, Bonnie Harris, and David Boomfeld on the educators's channel at BAM radio yet? It does not take long and may give you some ideas about how to handle things when students push your buttons.
http://www.bamradionetwork.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=category&layout=blog&id=35&Itemid=65

Quiz Yourself!

Maintaining a reflective practice is something that comes easy to most teachers. We are always looking for ways to teach better and to interact with our students in meaningful and productive ways. One way to think about how you can improve or, if you are a novice teacher-to-be (congrats on getting the job!), is to think about what students really want from a teacher.

In working on the third edition of the book I've written for new teachers, I came across this self-assessment that I wrote a year or so ago. In it, you'll find the character traits that students want from their teachers. Quiz yourself...if you are already checking out teacher blogs, you'll probably do just fine!

Don't forget--the more you can check below, the closer to the ideal teacher your students will thin you are!

The perfect teacher:

1. _____Enjoys being around all students and does not have favorites

2. _____Assigns lots of different types of activities

3. _____Has a great sense of humor

4. _____Understands student problems and tries to help

5. _____Acts like an adult and not a child

6. _____Doesn’t just hand out assignments, but teaches the material

7. _____Always keeps promises

8. _____Is strict, but not too strict

9. _____Admits when he or she is wrong

10. _____Makes sure everyone understands how to do an assignment correctly

11. _____Is well-organized

12. _____Spends time after class to help students

13. _____Returns papers promptly

14. _____Is friendly and fair to everyone

15. _____Knows the subject matter

16. _____Does not allow lots of misbehavior

17. _____Stays open-minded

18. _____Is enthusiastic about the subject

19. _____Is willing to listen to both sides of an issue

20. _____Is polite to everyone all of the time

Friday, July 13, 2012

Two Sites, a Canadian Book, and a Timeline


The French Canadian Version Is Here!


Although my books have been printed in several languages, it is always thrilling to see them. I recently received my author copies from Cheneliere Education Publishers in Canada. This is the French Canadian versios of my book for middle and high school teachers: The Secondary Teachers' Discipline Survival Guide. I am always amazed at the universality of our concerns as teachers--no matter what language we speak!

Radio Interview with Rae Pica, Bonnie Harris, and David Bloomfeld


I recently had an opportunity to participate in an online conversation at BAM Radio hosted by Rae Pica. Our discussion centered around the frustrating problem of how to manage not to snap when students push our buttons. If you would like to listen and have just about ten minutes, check out this URL.




Fantastic ally AMAZING and FREE Classroom D├ęcor Site


I recently came across a great site for teachers who want to save money while decorating their classrooms. At Block Posters (http://www.blockposters.com) you can upload any photograph and then blow it up to giant sizes—at NO COST and in three super simple steps. What a great way to use photos in your classroom.


Hopefully Helpful Excerpt


If you are trying to get ready for the new school year, this excerpt may help you organize the zillions of tasks you have to do. It’s from the third edition of The First-Year Teacher’s Survival Guide that I am currently working on.


“A Checklist for the Start of School

Because there are so many tasks that all teachers must complete in the few weeks and days before the beginning of a school term, it is very easy to be overwhelmed. If you were hired some months before the start of a new term, you  have an advantage over teachers who are not as lucky.

            If you were offered your position just a few weeks or even a few days before the beginning of school, you will have much to do to catch up. Either way, the time line  that follows will help you prioritize your responsibilities and avoid being overwhelmed with too much to do in too little time:

A Month Before the Term Begins

  • Hit the back–to-school sales for supplies.
  • Make sure that your wardrobe reflects your professional status.
  • Order any supplies your district allows.
  • Gather the other supplies you may need.
  • Begin searching the Internet for information about the subjects you will teach.
  • Pick up or download your district’s calendar for the school year.
  • Pick up or download your state and district curriculum guides.
  • Pick up teachers’ editions and supplementary materials.
  • Begin reading and studying the course materials.
  • Create your professional goals.

Three Weeks Before the Term Begins

  • Create a course overview for the year.
  • Join at least one professional organization.
  • Decide on the resources you will need for each unit of study.
  • Create unit plans.

Two Weeks Before the Term Begins

  • Create a syllabus or planner for your students.
  • Make sure that the equipment in your room works well.
  • Brainstorm a list of classroom management strategies and solutions to possible problems.
  • Create your class rules and procedures.
  • Put together information for substitute teachers, in case you need them.
  • Put your classroom in order.
  • Set up your desk and files.

One Week Before the Term Begins

  • Obtain the school forms you will need.
  • Work with a mentor in order to get answers to your procedural questions.
  • Make sure that you are prepared for emergency drills.
  • Create a daily routine for attendance, lunch counts, and other student business.
  • Write a letter to introduce yourself to parents and guardians.
  • Investigate the Web site you will use to set up your class Web page.
  • Write out your first three weeks of daily lesson plans.
  • Study your class rosters in order to familiarize yourself with your students’ names.
  • Create an alphabetical seating chart.

The Day Before School Starts

  • Finish any last-minute tasks.
  • Ask any last-minute questions.
  • Exercise, eat well, and get enough rest.
  • Make a plan to manage your work-related stress.”


Thursday, July 5, 2012

Data Tracking and the Impact of Value Added Assessments


Like every other teacher, I worry about value added assessments--for my own evaluation as well as for the evaluation of new teachers. While I can certainly understand the principles behind their effectiveness, I do worry about the things that can go wrong for new teachers who may not be aware of how their school district implements value added assessments when evaluating their performance.

Controversial or not, value added assessments are here to stay--at least for a while. One of the ways that I have thought we could all be helped is to track student data. Of course, many of us are data driven machines when it comes to assessments, but there are other bits of data that may help us move our students along so that they do make the measured progress that we want for them. One way to keep all of this information at hand is to use a sheet like the one I have below.

Feel free to download this sheet and to tweak it for your purposes. If you have some great ideas for how to modify it to make it better, I would love to read them. Send along a comment. I would appreciate it.

If you have any other advice about how new teachers can successfully manage the value added part of their evaluation, I would love to read them, too.


Worksheet: DATA TRACKING SHEET

Student _____________________________________Date of Birth_________________________

District Projected Test Score_______  Difference Between Previous and Projected Scores_______ 

Work Samples

Sample 1:____________________________________________________ Date:____________________

Sample 2: ____________________________________________________ Date:____________________                                                                                                           

Sample 3: ____________________________________________________ Date:____________________

Sample 4: ____________________________________________________ Date:____________________                                                                                                           

Sample 5: ____________________________________________________ Date:____________________

Previous Test Scores

Test____________________________ Date Administered____________ Score_____________________

Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

Actions to Take Based on Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

District Projected Test Score_______  Difference Between Previous and Projected Scores_______ 


Test____________________________ Date Administered____________ Score_____________________


Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

Actions to Take Based on Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

District Projected Test Score_______  Difference Between Previous and Projected Scores_______ 



Test____________________________ Date Administered____________ Score_____________________


Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

Actions to Take Based on Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

District Projected Test Score_______  Difference Between Previous and Projected Scores_______ 



Test____________________________ Date Administered____________ Score_____________________


Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

Actions to Take Based on Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

District Projected Test Score_______  Difference Between Previous and Projected Scores_______ 



Test____________________________ Date Administered____________ Score_____________________


Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

Actions to Take Based on Analysis of Score
1.

2.

3.

District Projected Test Score_______  Difference Between Previous and Projected Scores_______ 



Unit Pretests

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Unit_______________________________      Pretest Score_______      Posttest Score_______

Student Strengths

Work Approach

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Skills

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Knowledge

__________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Student Areas in Need of Remediation

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Learning Style Preferences

Visual_____ Auditory_____ Kinesthetic_____

Concrete_____ Abstract_____

Participant_____ Competitive_____ Collaborative_____